District Council 57

Fair Share Fees Remain Law of the Land After Supreme Court Rules 4-4 in Friedrichs Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a 4-4 ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, dealing a significant blow to wealthy special interests and thwarting the biggest attack on public sector unions in a decade. 

The case rejected an attempt by wealthy special interests to restrict opportunities for America’s teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and others who provide our vital services for our communities to have a voice at work and join together to build a better future for their families. The result in Friedrichs is meaningful for millions of families across the country, as it is a rebuke against this well-funded attack on workers’ voices and their ability to join together.  

While the Supreme Court’s ruling means that fair share dues collection as it now exists under Abood remains intact, the tie vote means the Court is free to take other cases in the future attacking working families. 

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said we should enjoy this victory and all the great work we have done in preparing for it. But we should also be ready to stand up to future attempts to silence the voices of working families. 

“As public service workers learn more about the Friedrichs case, they are shocked to hear about such a political attack through the Supreme Court, and more motivated than ever to step up, get involved, and organize,” he said. “It’s never been clearer that our most basic rights are at stake.”  

As the America Works Together Coalition stated earlier today:  

“Today’s decision sends a strong message to our opponents that the Supreme Court is not open to do the business of right wing organizations seeking to win through judicial decree what they have been unable to win through the democratic process. Our courts should be reserved for legal disputes, not political agendas.”  

The Friedrichs case has been so significant because it was a thinly veiled attempt to weaken collective bargaining and silence workers’ voices.

Corporate special interests have used their dark money to push through the courts their anti-worker political agenda to restrict voting rights, to limit the ability for workers to have a voice and to restrict opportunities for women and immigrants as part of their multi-front attack on working families and their communities. This corporate agenda has polluted America’s electoral system and civil political discourse and has made it increasingly apparent for working families that the stakes of the 2016 election couldn’t be higher.  

Thankfully, our members joined with others to fight back. In all, twenty-one states, dozens of cities, nearly 50 Republican lawmakers, school districts and public hospitals rose in support of the value fair share fees provide in terms of the effective management of public services. During oral arguments, lawyers for the respondents argued that current fair share system is a good compromise and common sense solution.  

The court’s decision today left that system in place nationwide.

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